The UK's best biker cafés of 2019
The best motorbike cafés in the UK are places to meet, eat and socialise with likeminded people who love motorcycles.
- Related: vote for the UK’s best biker cafe 2020 here!
- Latest biker café news: Hartside Café to become biker paradise
So it stands to reason that MCN will review them to let you know which ones are best. Our test team have spent hours riding around the country to sample what’s on offer nationwide.
We haven’t just visited nice cafés that tolerate bikers – or don’t even notice that you didn’t arrive in a car – we’ve been selecting the places that revel in two-wheeled business, the places that really welcome us.
Whether it’s a roadside diner in an old Portakabin, a converted pub or A-road service station, a nourishing corner of your local bike dealership, or a full-on bike-themed café – they all count. Some even put on specific biker nights or provide special facilities like visor cleaning stations, helmet parks, and bike-only parking.
But even the little tea stops that can’t offer all that were in with a chance of winning – all they have to do is welcome bikers with open arms, rather than folded ones.
We’ve given each a combined score based on the taste and price of a bacon butty, a sausage bap, a full English breakfast and the tea/coffee facilities, plus scores out of 10 for atmosphere and services. Scroll down for our interactive map and then for individual reviews of the UK’s 10 best motorcycle cafés.
The top 10 best biker cafés in the UK
- 10. Loomies Moto Café
- 9. Iron Horse Ranch House
- 8. The Bike Shed
- 7. Seaways Café
- 6. The Chequered Flag
- 5. The Steel Horse Café
- 4. Penny Garth Café
- 3. Harry’s Café at Fowlers of Bristol
- 2. Café Newt at Moto Corsa
- 1. Super Sausage Café
10. Loomies Moto Café
West Meon, Hampshire GU32 1JX
Set at the crossroads of some stunning roads, it’s biker heaven
Head to the South Downs, and you’ll find one of the region’s most established meeting spots, Loomies Moto Café, sitting amidst some of the best riding roads in the south of England.
It seems hard to believe now, but just three years ago Loomies was in danger of disappearing for good. Luckily, a new owner came forward in the shape of Paul Fullick, who stepped in to ensure that this popular hangout has not only survived, but has gone on to thrive.
“It’s been a real labour of love,” said Paul. “We love the place, we love the people and we all love bikes. Every accountant told us not to do it, yet here we are.”
The passion invested by Paul and his team is apparent in the attention to detail, from the helmet store and visor-wash station to the toolbox coffee table and engine-block cutlery holder and, of course, the food. “It took us months just to find the right sausage,” says Paul. “We now have our own butcher and go above and beyond to source the best ingredients locally.”
MCN put the ‘Track Hero’ breakfast to the test, and can confirm that those top-quality ingredients really do make a difference. But whether you choose the full fry-up or one of Loomies’ trademark gourmet burgers, be sure to leave room for cake! Manager Sally and trained pastry chef Charles ensure that a delicious selection of baked goodies is always available. Sadly, the signature Guinness cake had just sold out, but word is it’s worth coming back for.
The great thing about Loomies is that it feels more like a clubhouse than a café, where the staff treat customers like family. Just ask ‘Loomies Parliament’, who have been regulars since day one. “We’d be lost if it didn’t exist,” says spokesman John Hammond. “For companionship and meeting like-minded people, it can’t be beaten. Some of us are here five times a week!”
MCN’s great riding routes: Loomies Moto Cafe
This is a great ride. Head East on the legendary A272 to Midhurst, then start wending south, snaking left before Cocking to reach the A285 and the fantastic ‘Duncton Bends’ up over the hill and down towards Chichester. Turn right before the town starts, and you can pop into Goodwood Circuit for a breather, before heading North again on the B2141 to pretty Petersfield, and pushing through Ashford Hangers to the A32, then dip South to Loomies.
9. Iron Horse Ranch House
2 High Street, Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, PE6 8EB
Grab a slice of road-side Americana, and ogle loads of bikes in the heart of rural England
There’s some great riding to be had in the Lincolnshire Wolds and as a county it has a particularly enthusiastic biking population. Ride to Market Deeping, and you can sample one of the region’s most popular meet-ups and hangouts, the Iron Horse Ranch House.
With a row of steeds parked outside, the Iron Horse certainly looks the part and a friendly greeting from the staff makes for a warm, home-style welcome. The décor is pure Americana, giving the Iron Horse an authentic transatlantic diner feel. It’s more restaurant than café, boasting a bar, bands and a weekly bike night.
Owner Richard Swinscoe got his inspiration from the thousands of miles he’s ridden throughout the US. He said: “When I hit 50 I decided to do something different. Biking’s in my blood, so it made sense.”
As you might expect the menu has an American slant. Traditional British favourites are available, but there’s also pancakes with syrup as well as vegetarian and vegan options to accommodate all tastes. We opted for the Bad Boy Breakfast, and can confirm that it was more gourmet than greasy spoon. “It’s a great destination,” says customer Alex Carter-Silk, “with good food and bags of character.”
“This is what a biker café should be,” added his son, Ed. “It just looks and feels right.”
The Iron Horse even has its own club, the Iron Horse Riders, whose 30-odd members regularly take part in rideouts and other events to raise money for good causes.
MCN’s great riding routes: Iron Horse Ranch Café
Heading North from the Iron Horse, skirt Bourne and head for the 90-degree turns of the Grimsthorpe road to Corby Glen, where you point towards Grantham for a seriously sinuous stretch of tarmac. Dip under the south side of Grantham, and pick up the A607 past Chris Walker Kawasaki, and on through Walthma on the Wolds and pork pie-central: Melton Mowbray. Then start the arc back past Rutland Water, beautiful Stamford, and back to the Ranch.
Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
Pop in and watch MotoGP while getting a tasty lunch and a tattoo!
Head deep into the centre of London, and you can check out one of the newest kids on the biker café block, the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in trendy Shoreditch.
The Bike Shed is a unique destination, located amongst a series of railway arches just off Old Street, there’s the café/restaurant, a barber, tattooist, apparel shop, chill out and meeting area, exhibition space and free, secure parking for around 100 bikes.
“It’s the only reason we’ve come to London,” says Alex Turner, who’d ridden from Leamington Spa with Anna Brown on his sparkly orange Honda Hornet. “The steak salad is amazing.”
The menu may well be more exotic than your average greasy spoon, but the old favourites are still in there, albeit with a gourmet twist. We gave the bacon and egg brioche a thorough going over and it passed our rigorous test with flying colours. Prices are among the most expensive we have found, but surprisingly keen for London, as most people we spoke to pointed out.
Paul Carter was meeting up with The Weekly Ride creator Eamonn Foy before heading out on a ride. “It’s such an inclusive place where Harley guys, sportsbike riders and brat builders all rub shoulders together,” Paul told us.
For a final word MCN caught up with head honcho, Anthony ‘Dutch’ van Someren. “Whether it’s black pudding or pork and apple, we take our sausage very seriously,” says Dutch. “For great camaraderie you can’t beat the Bike Shed.”
MCN’s great riding routes: Bike Shed
You either like riding in London, or you don’t. If you do, this lap of the North and South Circular is quite a giggle, and littered with landmarks and places to stop for a brew. Head south from the Shed, and cross the Thames on tower Bridge before hugging the river over to Kew Gardens, where you pick up the North Circular at Chiswick, then just hold on to it (Stopping at the Ace Café if you fancy), past Wembley, Highbury, and back to the Shed.
Fimber Road, Fridaythorpe, Driffield YO25 9RX
Another Yorkshire belter within easy reach of the magical moors
For the final stop on our tour of the nation’s best biker’s cafes we headed back to Yorkshire, where a ride around the region’s fabulous roads leads us to a perennial favourite amongst the local biking population – the culinary delights and friendly banter at Seaways Cafe in Fridaythorpe.
It’s bright but chilly as we roll in from the A166 following a spirited ride North through the Lincolnshire Wolds and we’re more than ready for a bite and a brew. There’s plenty of room to park on Seaways ex-filling station forecourt, so we pick a spot near the bikes already rowed up and dismount to a friendly greeting from a couple of other riders.
“This is a great location to meet up,” says Derek, who’s ridden here on his Yamaha MT-09. “The food’s nice, as is the ambience. It’s like a pub with no beer.”
“They make the best bacon sandwich for miles around, too” adds BMW GS rider John.
We leave the two of them chatting away like a pair of old mates, despite the fact, as they point out, that they’ve only just met – such is the nature of a good Yorkshire café – and dive inside to be warmly welcomed by owner/manager Mike Thatcher, whose family have been the proprietors of Seaways for the past 25 years.
Seaways has a comprehensive menu featuring all the usual café fare from jacket potatoes to hot toasties and cakes, with our yardstick All Day Breakfast top of the list. We order up and take a seat with Moto Morini 3 1/2 rider Eileen, from Beverley. “We come here for the sausage sandwiches,” says Eileen. “They’re good quality and very tasty!”
Our breakfast arrives within just a few minutes and to quote Seaway’s regular Swiss John, it’s “spot on” – good quality ingredients, cooked to perfection and served with a smile.
Seaways ticks all the boxes as to what a good biker’s cafe should be; great food, friendly atmosphere and a decent place to park – plus it even has the added bonus of a camping area with glamping pods. It’s definitely one of Blighty’s best biker cafés.
MCN’s great riding routes: Seaways Café
Pulling out of Seaways, head East for the coast on the meandering B1253. Pop to Flamborough head if you fancy some sea air, or arc North towards Scarborough on the A165. Get a quick lap of Oliver’s Mount in, then head West on the A170 across the bottom of the Moors, then dive South at Pickering for Malton, and keep going all the way until you reach the A166, when you peel left to Fridaythorpe, and Seaways.
A38, Plymouth Road, Liskeard, Cornwall PL14 3PG
Service your bike, meet mates, eat and drink and head to the coast for great ride-out
The south west is blessed with its fair share of fantastic roads so took a blast across Bodmin Moor to drop in on the fine folk at Cornwall’s Chequered Flag Café. This unique pitstop lies on the northbound carriageway of the A38 just short of Liskeard and is easy to spot from the road.
To say the Chequered Flag is a biker-themed café does it a disservice – it’s more a multi-purpose facility designed with motorcyclists in mind. There’s a helmet park inside each door, somewhere to hang your kit, USB points for phone charging, free-to-use library with stacks of Haynes manuals, a TV and even a fully kitted workshop!
“We’re all about the people,” says Rob Partington who co-owns the Chequered Flag with his wife, Karen. “If you’ve got wet gloves you can dry them out and if you want to borrow spanners you can. If someone wants to do a specific job, they can even rent a workbench.”
The attention to detail runs through to the menu. Breakfasts range from Cruiser to Mini Moto depending on size, while burgers have names such as Street Triple and Gold Wing. We had a yardstick sausage sandwich and were more than impressed. Overall the Chequered Flag offers good, honest food in an environment that’s completely reflects the world of biking. We’ve not seen another roadside café like it.
“It’s the Ace Cafe of the south west,” says regular Spike Hughes. “There’s ample parking, great food, and you can even have a brew while your bike’s being serviced!”
MCN’s great riding routes: The Chequered Flag
It’s tempting to go coastal, but head inland towards Tavistock, and you’re at the gateway to the moors. Plunge towards Exeter, and you’re rewarded with miles of meandering switchbacks, before dipping south at Dunsford, then arcing back through Bovey Tracey for the run West again to Yelverton, where you dive onto the A386 and A38 for a fast swooping ride back to the finish line at the Chequered Flag.
Llanvihanel Gobion, Abergavenny, NP7 9AY
A genuine Welsh wonder just off the A40 in a stunning location
From the smooth, flowing curves of the A40 to the devilish twists of the legendary Black Mountain Pass, the roads around the Brecon Beacons are among the finest in the land. This region has routes for every kind of biker, but when it comes to refreshments there’s one place that seems to attract everyone; so we saddled up and moseyed on down to the Steel Horse Café in Llanvihanel Gobion.
The first thing that hit us on our mid-week visit was the sheer number and variety of bikes parked up out front; among others there’s an imposing R1200GS flanked by a classic TriBSA café racer and ubiquitous Honda C90, while elsewhere there’s a matt black Fireblade, a bright orange XR1200 and a somewhat muddy CRF450. By the time we’ve got our helmet off, we’re already chatting to regulars.
“It’s such a great location,” says Tony Phelps. “It’s a central spot with loads of really good riding all around. It catches the sun nearly all day too, so even in winter it’s a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.”
Inside we’re greeted front-of-house by Megan Forward, whose genial welcome instantly has us feeling at home. The Steel Horse was originally a pub and retains much of that cosy atmosphere; there’s great banter but it’s not at all cliquey.
The most popular dish is their superb All-Day Breakfast, cooked to order by chef David Johnson using local ingredients. It’s a real treat and definitely worth the journey.
“The facilities are good and the food is excellent,” says IAM observer Will Morgan, who’s stopped off for a debrief with associate Frank Scott. “They’ve got the balance between quality and price just right.”
MCN’s great riding routes: the Steel Horse Cafe
You can go in any direction for great roads, but this loop has some serious high points. Pick up the A40 West, to Trecastle, then head up into the Brecons proper. Pick up the A4069 and revel in this rollercoaster road all the way to Brynamman, then head East, take a short blast up the A465, then peel off again for a loop around Pontsticill and Talybont reservoirs, and South again to re-join the A465 back toward the Steel Horse. A long and satisfying route.
Market Place, Hawes, North Yorkshire, DL8 3RD
Top-notch roadside biker café amidst the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park
It’s said throughout the Dales that ‘all roads lead to Hawes’ and whilst that may be an exaggeration in real terms, it’s certainly true that the best ones do. So we took a ride over the legendary Buttertubs Pass to visit the Penny Garth Café, and joined the lunchtime regulars to find out if there’s more to this established hub than just a convenient place to meet for those exploring the incredible local roads.
“I’d give it 10/10 right across the board,” says David Short, who rides in at least once a week with mate Neil Burnett on their Triumph Bonnevilles. “The food is superb and there’s always a friendly atmosphere, plus it’s the best motorcycling area you can have – what’s not to like?”
Charles Crowley and Peter Benbow offer up a perfect 10 too. “The reputation speaks for itself,” says Charles. “Good food, quick service and excellent facilities.” And our sausage bap left nothing to be desired after the hype we’d just received; however, the real treat was one of owner Christian Westen’s home-made brownies.
“We make everything fresh,” says Christian’s number two in the kitchen, local lad Ryan Iveson. “And that includes all the cakes and pastries. We understand bikers so do our best to cater for them – we’ll make sure groups are all served hot food at the same time, we provide visor cleaning facilities and also a 24hr webcam so that you can check on the weather before heading over.”
The Penny Garth could be in the running on location alone, but we spoke to a cross section of customers and it would appear that whilst many come for the roads, they all stay for the food. Especially the cake.
MCN’s great riding routes: Penny Garth Café
This is stunning biking country. Head from the Penny Garth to Aysgarth, then dive South towards Skipton, looping back up to Halton Gill (this is a narrow nadgery road with great views), then plunge South again to Stainforth, then hook right and head North flitting between dry stone walls up to the Ribblehead Viaduct (worth stopping for a look, it’s right on the junction), then right again on the B6255 for another cake at the Penny Garth.
Bath Road, Bristol, BS4 3DR
South West über-dealer with a great penthouse café
There was a time when you’d be lucky to find a cup of instant coffee in a bike shop, let alone a biscuit to go with it, but things are a little different today. For the best in bike shop cafés head to the newly refurbished Harry’s Café at south-west super-dealer, Fowlers of Bristol.
As we roll up it’s impossible not to be impressed by the scale of the building and what you find inside doesn’t disappoint either, as acres of bike kit and new motorcycles spread out all around you. The ground floor is all about kit, but with stomach-sating purpose in mind we mount the spiral staircase to the next level, only to be greeted by the latest offerings from a host of manufacturers including Triumph, Suzuki, KTM, Husqvarna, Moto Guzzi, Vespa, Aprilia and Piaggio. Avoiding the temptation of a new bike, we push on up to the top level we reach a contemporary-styled haven of tranquillity and our intended destination: Harry’s Café.
The menu is traditional biker fare featuring breakfast, burgers, butties and baps. All food is prepared on the premises, cooked to order and served with a smile. Our Biker Breakfast was well worth the journey, as was the proper coffee.
“The food’s good value and the service is great,” says Gary, who regularly meets up with his mates at Harry’s. On our visit they were putting the world to rights around one of the long tables. “The staff are always very friendly and it gives us a chance to look at new bikes, too,” adds Alison. “We’re always here for hours every time we come.”
MCN’s great riding routes: Harry’s Café at Fowlers of Bristol
Get out of the city heading South-West, picking up the A38 heading for the Mendip Hills. Wiggle south through Shipham, and you’ll be at the foot of Cheddar Gorge. Do a couple of runs, looking our for animals and stupid tourists, then pop out the top and onwards to Green Ore. Turn left on the A39 up to Chewton Mendip, then left again towards East Harptree and Chew Valley Lake. Keep heading North until you hit the A37 back to Brizzle.
The Old Brewery, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4NW
An exotic dealership, with exquisite grub near great roads
Our culinary fuelled curiosity eventually drew us to deepest Dorset, where a tour of the region’s beautiful B-roads allowed for a pit stop at Moto Corsa’s state-of-the-art Mirus 55 showroom and the opportunity to sample its in-house eatery, Café Newt.
Mirus 55, as the sign above the door proclaims, is the ‘home of rare and exceptional motorcycles’ and they’re not wrong. Inside you’ll find exotic and iconic brands such as Brough Superior, Norton and MV Agusta to name but a few. But be warned; if you’re hungry, the best thing to do is follow the signs to the parking area at the back for a direct route to the café, otherwise the lure of these gorgeous machines can prove somewhat of a stomach-depriving distraction.
We decided to sit out in the peace and tranquillity of the walled garden to put Café Newt’s Full English to the test. Given the exclusivity of the dealership, our expectations were high and thankfully we were not disappointed.
“All our meals are freshly prepared to order, using as many top-quality local ingredients as possible,” says café manager Stephen Angel.
“I love popping in for a spot of window shopping and a good social,” says Lee Harding from Frome, who makes Café Newt the main destination when out riding with the lads. “The Superior breakfast is fantastic, plus it’s a great place to just chill out.”
“The food here is excellent,” adds R1200RS rider John Booker. “I’m out on a jolly today and this is always my first port of call.”
Jonathan Cebo has a regular 86-mile ride out route that stops at Café Newt, too: “We’re in here at least once a week during the summer,” says Jonathan. “I’d give it a solid 10/10.”
MCN’s great riding routes: Café Newt
From Café Newt, head East into Gillingham and on to Shaftesbury. Pick up the B3081, then hook a left at Cann Common for the very silly Zig Zag Hill. Then it’s a blast over Cranborne Chase to Sixpenny Handly, before plunging down to Blandford Forum and avoiding the A350 by taking Higher Shaftesbury Road back to Cann Common. Then take the A30 West to East Stour before heading North again to buy a new bike at Moto Corsa.
35 Watling Street, Potterspury, Northamptonshire, NN12 7QD
Part of the MCN250 route, and a proper biker hang-out
The Super Sausage Café on the A5 near Potterspury is becoming somewhat of a sensation, having won several Best Café awards to date, and being one of two well-known nosh-stops on the increasingly famous MCN250 road test route. But does it have what it takes to put MCN’s coveted Golden Sausage in its trophy cabinet?
“First and foremost is the ‘Q’ factor,” says Chris Murray, who runs the Super Sausage along with his wife Gail and son Simon. “From the quality equipment we use in the kitchen, to the quality food we serve to the customers and the team who work here. Quality is everything.”
And that ethos certainly shines through. Our breakfast left us with no complaints at all. The staff are incredibly attentive too, though never intrusive, providing a level of service that many top restaurants often fail to deliver.
Nigel and Chris Hankins are first-timers, heading back to Grimsby on their Fazer 1000 after a short break in Brighton. “It’s certainly lived up to its reputation,” says Nigel. “That was one of the best BLTs I’ve ever had.”
“It’s spot-on, but once you’ve been here, you’ve been spoilt,” says regular, Dave Buckman.
The vast, well maintained parking area also makes Super Sausage a popular place to meet up, or in the case of Kim Taylor, Bob Rhoades and friends, somewhere to split off from.
“We’re on our way back from Prague,” says Bob. “The good food, quick service, friendly staff and superb access make it the perfect place to end our trip.”
Last word goes to owner Chris: “Breakfast is the easiest meal you can cook, but it’s also the easiest to f**k up,” he smiles. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the sausage.”
MCN great riding routes: Super Sausage Cafe
From the Super Sausage, head towards Towcester, then snake down the back lanes to Silverstone, briefly flit along the A43, then back onto B-roads for a sweeping arc to Banbury. Then head south on the A361 before looping East across country through Deddington, Croughton and on to Buckingham, before heading back up to the Super Sausage for another cuppa via the outskirts of Old Statford.
The full list of all 33 of Britain’s best biker cafés in score order:
- Super Sausage Café
- Café Newt
- Harry’s Café
- Penny Garth
- Steel Horse
- Seaways Café
- Chequered Flag
- Bike Shed
- Iron Horse
- Ace Café
- Filling Station
- Krazy Horse
- The Haven
- H’s Café, Kent
- The Glen Café
- Route 1066
- Original Tea Hut
- Ryka’s Café
- H Café, Oxford
- Green Welly
- Jack’s Hill Café
- Long Itch Diner
- Walker’s Snacks
- Billy’s on the road
- Bike Stop
- Sidings Café
- Whiteways café
- Revved Up